The DC Extended Universe (or DCEU) is about to reach its twilight with the upcoming premiere of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which will mark the end of said superhero cinematographic universe to make way for James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new DCU, starting in 2025 with the release of Superman Legacy. But what is it that led the DCEU to bomb so hard over the past few years? Why does the general public seem to have turned their backs on Superman, Batman, and other DC hero films that all shared a universe? David S. Goyer, screenwriter for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, thinks he’s got the answer.
The screenwriter of ‘Man of Steel’ knows what went wrong
David S. Goyer, screenwriter of Man of Steel (2013), the first DCEU film by Zack Snyder with Henry Cavill debuting as Superman, believes that the failure of said universe comes from the bad decision of Warner Bros. of trying to build a shared universe in the style of Marvel instead of betting on a direct sequel to Man of Steel. This was stated in the last episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, a show in which he also revealed that he wrote a Star Wars film for Guillermo del Toro.
“I know the pressure we were getting from Warner Bros., which was, ‘We need our MCU! We need our MCU!’ And I was like let’s not run before we walk. The other thing that was difficult at the time was there was this revolving door of executives at Warner Bros. and DC. Every 18 months someone new would come in. We were just getting whiplash. Every new person was like, ‘We’re going to go bigger!’”, said Goyer.
So much so, that Goyer believes that Warner Bros. did not have the appropriate infrastructure to build such a complex universe, to the point that they made a plan with 20 movies for the following years that had not even been written yet, giving rise to improvisation: “I remember at one point the person running Warner Bros. at the time had this release that pitched the next 20 movies over the next 10 years, but none of them had been written yet! It was crazy how much architecture was being built on air. This is not how you build a house.”